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Laporta turns to Messi after winning elections

Laporta wins Barcelona presidential elections and immediately shifts focus to Messi's future

March 8, 2021 By Ali M.
The 58-year-old beat out Victor Font and Toni Freixa to the Camp Nou throne and will begin his fight to keep Leo in Catalonia.

It is official: Barcelona finally have a new president and that man is none other than Joan Laporta. After months of turbulence and crisis, the Blaugrana members have elected their new leader almost five months after former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who is currently under investigation over suspicions of corruption, resigned due to immense pressure.

The 58-year-old, who served as president at the Camp Nou during their successful period between 2003 and 2010, beat Victor Font and Toni Freixa to the coveted seat. And he won by a landslide, picking up almost double the votes of his closest opponent Font, 30,184 to the runners-up's 16,679 – Freixa came in last with 4,769 votes.

"I want to thank all the members for coming out to vote what has been the most important election in the club's history due to [the effects of] the coronavirus pandemic, which has changed our lives," Laporta said after being declared the winner on Sunday, as per ESPN.

"I want to thank the members that have supported our campaign. This has been a celebration of democracy and of Barcelona. I also want to pay special thanks to Johan Cruyff, who's no longer with us. I am sure he's helped us.

"Barcelona is a huge family, and we will overcome the difficulties together. We will achieve the objectives that we have set out."

Given the mess Barcelona find themselves in, both on and off the pitch, this was one of the most crucial presidential elections in the club's history. With the Catalan giants in huge debt and in desperate need of a competitive sporting project, the question of who would become the next leader required the right answer.

Several players, both present and past, turned up at the Camp Nou to vote, stressing the importance of this race. The likes of Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Riqui Puig, Carles Puyol, and former manager Luis Enrique all turned up to cast their ballots but it was the presence of one man that caught everyone's attention: Lionel Messi.

The Argentine and club captain casted his vote, which according to Marca, is the very-first time he has participated in the presidential elections. Laporta highlighted the importance of Leo's presence at the Camp Nou, hailing it as a sign of La Pulga's unequivocal love for the club.

"Today marks 20 years since a boy named Leo Messi debuted with Barcelona's Infantil B [U12-13] team," Laporta said. "Seeing the best player in the world come to vote with his son is an example of what we've said.

"Leo loves Barcelona. That's the reflection of it. The best player in the world loves Barcelona.

"Hopefully that will help him to stay at Barcelona. That's what we want."

Joan wasted no time in shifting the focus to Messi's future. With the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's deal ending this summer, the Argentine's contract situation takes top priority. Laporta claimed during a recent debate that of the three candidates, only he could convince Leo to stay so it will be interesting to see if he can pull this off.

"I can call Jorge Messi tonight if I win," was the 58-year-old's answer when asked on Sunday morning if he would call La Pulga's agent on Monday should he be declared the winner.

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